WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Bovine respiratory disease is the most common and costly disease affecting beef cattle worldwide. Mohit Verma, assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University, recently received several awards, totaling $ 1.4 million, from the Food and Agriculture Research Foundation ( FFAR) to support its groundbreaking work to produce a biosensor-based decision-making tool for managing disease.
The innovation will also help reduce and target the use of antibiotics, thereby increasing public confidence in animal agricultural practices for managing antibiotics.
FFAR recently announced that Verma has received the FFAR New Innovator Award and the Technology Working Group Award from the International Consortium for Antimicrobial Management in Agriculture (ICASA).
With this new support, the Verma team now has additional industrial collaborators including Cactus Feeders, Five Rivers Cattle, Tyson Foods, McDonald’s (ICASA) and Elanco Health (New Innovator Award).
Verma explained why the complexity of this bovine disease has long presented challenges that he believes his team can meet with new technologies.
“Bovine respiratory disease is a complex syndrome with multiple infectious agents, including bacteria and viruses,” Verma said. “And the emergence of antibiotic resistance has definitely complicated this problem. But I am convinced that we can develop biosensors that can be used in the field to determine which pathogen is present. Biosensors are inexpensive and user-friendly.
“Since our biosensors incorporate most of the complexity of the device, users will only need minimal training. With the support of FFAR and our industry partners, we will be able to create a diagnostic solution that will reduce waste, improve productivity, and reduce the spread of antibiotic resistance.
Nate Mosier, Department Head and Professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, nominated Verma for the FFAR New Innovator Award and praised Verma’s progress during his two years at Purdue.
“Dr. Verma has built an impressive laboratory and a network of professional colleagues who
includes veterinarians, zootechnicians, microbiologists and farmers – all of whom will be essential in bringing its innovative technologies to farmers and ranchers, ”Mosier said.
Verma is working on these FFAR-supported projects with colleagues at Purdue: Jon Schoonmaker, associate professor of animal science; Timothy Johnson, assistant professor of animal science; Jennifer Koziol and Deepti Pillai, Clinical Assistant Professors, College of Veterinary Medicine; and Aaron Ault, senior research engineer for the Open Ag Technology Group.
Verma came to Purdue after completing a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University. He obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering (Nanotechnology) from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, where he also obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science in Nanotechnology Engineering.
His lab recently published its first paper on this technology in ACS Agricultural Sciences and Technologies.
Agricultural communications: 765-494-8415;
Maureen Manier, Head of Department, [email protected]